poetry

Four Poems by Charlotte Hamrick

Repetition Interrupted

It makes me anxious, reading
your words. I’ve done my years
of anxious, of constantly running
three steps ahead of a fit. I threw
that shit away in 2009
after my good intentions got slammed
by a sledgehammer
of entrenched mediocrity.
And that was just in my work life.

Friends come and go and I
became caught up in a frenzy
of mindless socializing, of running
from event to event and bar
to bar guzzling the cocktail du jour
or on trend micro beer.

I fell for their slack-jawed mantra
that you’re only really living when
you’re immersed in “the culture”.
But I don’t believe their version
is the one and only true religion
and I grew tired of trying
to be more like them.

I’m not like them.
I called bullshit on it all and just stopped.


The Known Unknown

Indistinct edges of the grey day
fade into tendrils of forgotten thoughts:
birth caul over a baby’s face, thud of dirt
on a crone’s coffin—everything in between
so much receding matter. Ancient burial grounds
fester beneath glass and concrete as the living replace
the dead, decade upon decade—water dripping moments
absorbed into earth where Juju beads hold no sway.


Bravado

There is no up or down in this,
no sneaking out the back.
Whiskey is a brown liquid temptation
turned to tirade, feet mired
in soap scum, knees scuffed
from a bedtime ritual where tears
of atonement buy no redemption.

Storm Break 

Thunder rumbles in the distance,
low and guttural, hackles raised.
The air is still as wide-eyed prey
in the predator’s stare, feet turned
to boneless mush.
In between thunderstorms
lie the ache of ribs and sternum, rotten
banana bruises spread over scars
upon scars so thick no amount
of makeup can disguise them.
Indecision twists within a knotted net
of whens and what ifs,
the angry rain beating on your window,
the blood pulsing in your temple waiting
for the crack.

Charlotte Hamrick’s poetry and prose has been published in numerous online and print journals, most recently including Mockingheart Review, Literary Orphans, and The Rumpus. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee and a finalist for the 15th Glass Woman Prize. She lives in New Orleans with her husband and a menagerie of rescued pets.
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